The Little Drummer Girl Episode 6 Review

Visually arresting and ambitious, Florence Pugh's performance will be The Little Drummer Girl's legacy.

This article comes from Den of Geek UK.

This The Little Drummer Girl review contains spoilers.

The Little Drummer Girl Episode 6

“I hope it was worth it,” were Khalil’s last words to Charlie. So, was it? 

Thanks to Charlie’s bravura performance, Marty’s scheme took Mossad “closer than anyone” to dismantling the Palestinian terror cell. Using intel Charlie had gathered in Lebanon, the training camp and mountain community were both destroyed. Key players in the attacks—Salim, Anna, Khalil, Fatmeh, Rossino, Helga, Mesterbein—were killed. Yet, after Khalil’s death, the bombings continued.  

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So, was it worth it? With Khalil now a martyr, parades no doubt being held in his honor, and bombs still targeting Israeli intellectuals, the finale left us considering what Marty’s bold plan really achieved. 

Stepping outside of the drama, one answer is that it gave us six hours of the handsomest TV we’ve seen in an age, and cemented Florence Pugh’s status as one of the most talented actors working today.  

Pugh has been a revelation as Charlie. Funny and sad and tough and vulnerable, often all in the space of the same line, she’s been the stand-out in a strong cast (Charif Ghattas was excellent as Khalil in this finale). Across the series, Pugh has held her own against the quiet—and, admittedly, often pretty loud—intensity of Michael Shannon. She even made the usually striking Alexander Skarsgard fade into the scenery. Opposite Charlie’s vibrancy, Gadi felt at times like a very tall, very tragic anglepoise lamp.  

Not watching Pugh work every week is my one regret about The Little Drummer Girl coming to an end. Not that it’s been a slog, but its affectations—the monologues to camera, the fiction/reality repetitions—have leaned towards the ponderous rather than the thrilling. The ambition to complicate the international spy genre with lofty themes and provocative questions about cultural perspective (both Marty and Khalil knew they played the role of the devil to each other) and anti-Semitism is wholly admirable, but for viewers, none of that exactly equals… fun.  

If you wouldn’t have come here for fun, you’d certainly have come for style. Director Park Chan-wook and cinematographer Woo-hyung Kim, along with Maria Djurkovic’s production design have told this story with intense beauty. The locations, costumes, props, and framing have all looked memorable and exquisite.  

To take one shot among hundreds that shows the level of patient attention shown to detail here, see Charlie and Marty walking away from their meeting towards the end of the episode. The Escher-like steps in the geometric house lead both distinct silhouettes off in opposite directions, on different levels. It’s a final goodbye. Like Gadi, Charlie has resigned from Marty’s troupe. She’s chosen romance and self-discovery with the man who saved her life over another exhilaratingly dangerous role from the man who was willing to sacrifice it. 

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That romance, beautiful and complex as it was, fell short of being involving. Frankly, I’ve had bruises I’m more emotionally invested in watching develop than the love affair between Charlie and Gadi, but there was plenty going on elsewhere to keep you watching.

Never less than arresting to look at, The Little Drummer Girl told its difficult, convoluted story with poise and ambition. Its legacy though, feels as though it’ll be as a calling card for Florence Pugh. Writers, create her roles as rich as this one, and producers, fall over yourselves trying to hire her.